Damen Shipyards Group pilot: Thorn-D outperforms traditional antifouling

Thorn-D antifouling foil on vessel

(AMSTERDAM) (Dec. 4) — Thorn-D antifouling outperforms conventional antifouling coatings and is environmentally friendly. A pilot project which started one and a half years ago has proven that this new thin film coating performs better than traditional antifoulings. A real ecological and cost-efficient breakthrough for shipping companies and shipyards.

Thorn-D pilot: economically friendly fiber versus smooth conventional coating
Dutch innovation and award-winning company, Micanti, in cooperation with Damen Shipyards (see: “Damen introduces anti-fouling foil” for more information), launched a pilot project in the Port of Amsterdam in February 2013.

Two virtually identical sister ships were treated with two different coatings. The Castor, a Damen Stan Tug 1907, was treated with a well-known conventional antifouling coating. The Pollux, also a Stan Tug 1907, was treated with the new foil, Thorn-D. Both vessels operated at low speed in the Port of Amsterdam, under the same conditions and in the same waters.

Nylon fibers prevent marine growth on ships
“When I met Micanti’s staff for the first time, I was skeptical about using fibers to prevent marine growth. And due to Thorn-D’s textured surface as opposed to a smooth conventional coating, I expected an increase in drag and fuel consumption,” remarks Willem Spoelstra, manager, Environment and Safety Nautical Department of the Port of Amsterdam. “But surprisingly enough, that was not the case. Thorn-D lives up to its promise ― it prevents marine growth without increasing drag.”

Conventional antifouling coatings need movement to keep marine growth from adhering to the vessel. Thorn-D, a fiber which acts as a physical barrier, does not require movement, and even works when a ship is moored. “We have measured the speed against its sister vessel Castor (built at Damen at the same time) on delivery. We have seen no differences at all. At present, fuel consumption is still at the level as it was at delivery. On top of this, Thorn-D is 100 percent environmentally friendly, essential in reaching sustainability targets,” says Spoelstra.

Non-conventional vessel coating reduces fuel consumption
Regular antifouling coatings fail earlier. The conventional coating is no longer effective once most or all of the toxins have leached into the water. Dr. Rik Breur, founder of Micanti, explains: “Since Thorn-D acts as a physical barrier against marine growth, it has a longer expected lifetime (guaranteed five years) than traditional antifouling coatings that already start degrading after six months.’’

More foul leads to an increase in drag and higher fuel consumption. The drag on Thorn-D has been tested at Dutch research institutes (TNO, Delft University of Technology and MARIN) as well as in practice on operating vessels. The general conclusion is that Thorn- D fibers do not increase drag due to a change in the hydrodynamic flow structure.

“Not only have our pilot project and research results proven Thorn-D’s outstanding performance, our clients from the Middle East, for example, are also positive about our new product,” adds Breur. “And these clients are constantly battling marine growth.”

Watch our short animation film (75 seconds) to see how Thorn-D works.

By Professional Mariner Staff